Solomon Islands, beforehand certainly one of a handful of nations that had remained Covid-free all through this international pandemic, has reported its first case.

Dorothy Wickham studies from Honiara:

The Solomon Islands prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare, has simply confirmed in a nationally televised handle that one Solomon Islands scholar repatriated from the Philippines late final month has examined optimistic for Covid-19.

“It pains me to say now we have misplaced our Covid-19 free standing, regardless of our collective efforts to stop the pandemic from coming into our nation.”

The scholar is in quarantine however is asymptomatic. He had been examined earlier than leaving Manila – returning a adverse end result – however examined optimistic later in Honiara.

Sogavare stated contact tracing and testing of medical employees attending to college students was now happening. The entire college students who returned on the repatriation flight are enterprise a obligatory 14-day quarantine. The contaminated scholar – in addition to two different suspected instances – have been taken into hospital isolation services.

Sogavare reaffirmed that there have been at the moment no confirmed instances of neighborhood transmission, and warranted Solomon Islanders there have been no plans for any lockdowns at this stage.

“Fellow residents, whereas now we have been working to stop the virus from reaching our shores, it’s now with us. Nonetheless … we’re able to determine it … to isolate it … to include it … and to eradicate it.”

Sogavare introduced that each one repatriation flights of Solomon Islander residents have been suspended till additional discover.

File photo of Nggela kids swimming in Solomon Islands

{Photograph}: Edward Cavanough/The Guardian

Pacific islands have been largely spared the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic – with very low case numbers – however there are fears that, if the virus was to take maintain, it might unfold quickly amongst populations that dwell shut collectively, have excessive charges of comorbidities, and fragile and underresourced public well being techniques.

Whereas the virus has remained largely below management to this point, Pacific economies, notably these depending on tourism, have been devastated by the pandemic. The economic system of Fiji, one of many largest Melanesian nations, is anticipated to retreat greater than 20% this yr.

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